I don’t know about anybody else but for me the last week has gone very slowly. After the exhilarating victory over Stockport County, the departure of one Peter and the arrival of another it’s certainly been a busy week in the life of the club.
The new manager has come in and been effusive in his language about the club and the opportunity. You wouldn’t expect anything else from a new manager, especially if that manager was Peter Jackson. Add to that the impressive performance of the reserves in midweek (a 6-2 win over Port Vale) and you’ve got a recipe for heightened expectation as Jackson’s men take to the field for the first time.
I don’t know what team he’ll pick. Having placed Junior Lewis and Wayne Jacobs on gardening leave it’s clear that, Wetherall aside, ties with the Taylor regime have been broken.
So it will be interesting to see what calls Jackson makes across the pitch.
Today’s opposition, Gillingham, are on an 8 game unbeaten streak but have only recorded two of those as victories. Can the Bantams burst their bubble?
Lee Bullock talks up his new gaffer Peter Jackson is very lively and has come bouncing straight in. His enthusiasm is great.
“That passion spills out to us and it`s great to see.
“He`s got a great affinity with the club after being the captain on that terrible day of the fire.
“He`s led the club before on the pitch and now he wants to lead the club again as manager.
“This is a great opportunity for him and it`s down to us.
“Everything has been enjoyable so far since he came in the place but we`ve got to go out there and perform when it matters
Gillingham Team News:
Gillingham’s manager Andy Hessenthaler is sweating over the fitness of danger men Curtis Weston and Andy Barcham whilst Garry Richards might also be stuck on the sidelines.
It would probably be good for the Bantams if they didn’t make it…
Player to watch: Curtis Weston
If he’s fit then we’ll have to be on our toes against him
Bradford City Team News:
In goal he can choose from either Lenny Pidgeley or Jon McLaughlin.
If Shane Duff is returned to fitness I expect to see him at the heart of a back four alongside Steve Williams. However, two-goal Williams was also responsible for giving up possession cheaply against Stockport for their equalising goal. Luke Oliver acquitted himself well last week so perhaps the middle pairing won’t be disrupted.
Simon Ramsden is still sidelined meaning Lewis Hunt will be on the right whilst contender for player of the (disappointing) season Luke O’Brien will be at left back.
Midfield will be dictated by the system Jackson deploys. But, if I were in the Valley Parade hotseat, I would play a middle pair of Michael Flynn and Dave Syers flanked by Gareth Evans on the right and Kevin Ellison on the left (although I’d first have recalled Omar Daley for that position). Leon Osborne might get the nod, and Tom Adeyemi, Lee Bullock and former Huddersfield Town player Jonathan Worthington will also have pressed their case for inclusion this week.
Up front the Hanson-Speight pairing that looked potentially effective against Port Vale and Chesterfield didn’t have the same composure when everyone was panicking against Stockport on Saturday. I would stick with them from the start. Scott Dobie, scored in midweek so might fancy involvement whilst there’s a chance Jackson will favour Hanson and Evans.
I’m looking forward to finding out how he’ll pitch things.
Player to watch: Jake Speight
If Jake gets the nod then it will be interesting to see whether he can flourish in a Taylor-free-zone. His performance midweek won’t have hurt his chances, maybe he can start repaying that £25,000?